Skip To Content

    19 Words That Mean Something Totally Different In Silicon Valley

    Let's go ideate at Coupa.

    1. "Hacking"

    Relativity Media

    What it means elsewhere: Breaking into someone else's computer, usually illegally. Something bad that happened to Jennifer Lawrence.

    What it means in SV: An invaluable talent that will net you six figures.

    2. "Business attire"

    HBO

    What it means elsewhere: A suit and tie.

    What it means in SV: Jeans, a free t-shirt, and quirky socks.

    3. "Let's break things."

    20th Century Fox

    What it means elsewhere: Let's destroy objects, perhaps in a riotous fashion.

    What it means in SV: Let's create the next Instagram.

    4. "Palo Alto"

    RabbitBandini Productions

    What it means elsewhere: Where Stanford is.

    What it means in SV: Where Stanford is and WHERE EVERYTHING IMPORTANT HAPPENS. #MECCA

    5. "Disrupt"

    NBC

    What it means elsewhere: To interrupt, likely in a rude manner.

    What it means in SV: To destroy all the competition around your start-up so that your company remains as the sole beacon of hope in a world surrounded by digital rubble.

    6. "Growth Hacker"

    Netflix

    What it means elsewhere: The subject line of a penis enhancement spam email.

    What it means in SV: Basically someone who works in advertising and sales wanted a cooler job title.

    7. "Empathize"

    BBC / Via wordpress.com

    What it means elsewhere: Find ways to understand the lives of others.

    What it means in SV: Find ways to sell products to others.

    8. "Stanford University"

    youtube.com

    What it means elsewhere: The top-ranked university in the United States.

    What it means in SV: The birthplace of Snapchat.

    9. "Ideate"

    Cartoon Network

    What it means elsewhere: Nothing, that's gibberish, that's not a real word.

    What it means in SV: A fancy-ass word for thinking.

    10. "Innovation"

    cheezburger.com

    What it means elsewhere: Something totally new and useful, like man-made fire or indoor plumbing.

    What it means in SV: An app that lets you send unsolicited nude pics to that girl from your econ lecture.

    11. "Incubator"

    HBO

    What it means elsewhere: A place where you put premature babies.

    What it means in SV: A bungalow where grown-ups and teenagers gather to drink beer, play Settlers of Catan, and come up with ideas.

    12. "Thought Leader"

    youtube.com

    What it means elsewhere: Would that be like... a professor? I guess?

    What it means in SV: Anyone with hair big enough to signify wisdom.

    13. "Steve Jobs"

    Getty Images Justin Sullivan

    What it means elsewhere: The eccentric and beloved late CEO of Apple.

    What it means in SV: God.

    14. "Coupa Cafe"

    theprospect.net

    What it means elsewhere: A coffee shop, probably.

    What it means in SV: The best place for eavesdropping / where all the deals go down.

    15. "Angel"

    Comedy Central / Via comedycentral.tumblr.com

    What it means elsewhere: A sweet lil' cherub who takes care of you, looks after you, and listens to your prayers.

    What it means in SV: Same.

    16. "Clinkle"

    HBO / Via riffinbits.tumblr.com

    What it means elsewhere: Is that a cute word for peeing?

    What it means in SV: We had such high hopes.

    17. "The Google Bus"

    mrlapadite.tumblr.com

    What it means elsewhere: A major public nuisance.

    What it means in SV: You've made it, buddy.

    18. "Transparency"

    New Line Cinema

    What it means elsewhere: The ability to see through something, like a piece of cellophane or a glass ceiling.

    What it means in SV: You thought there were secrets on the Internet? Haha.

    19. "Entrepreneur"

    reddit.com

    What it means elsewhere: A small-business owner who creates new value for her community.

    What it means in SV: Literally anyone.

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form